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Dao De Jing [Tao Te Ching]

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Chapter 70

The Difficulty of Being (Rightly) Known

Difficult to Understand / The Difficulty of Understanding

  Original Legge's Translation Susuki's Translation Goddard's Translation
1 My words are very easy to know, and very easy to practise; but there is no one in the world who is able to know and able to practise them. My words are very easy to understand and very easy to practise, but in the world no one can understand, no one can practise them. My words are very easy to understand and very easy to put into practice, yet in all the world no one appears to understand them or to practice them.
2

There is an originating and all-comprehending (principle) in my words, and an authoritative law for the things (which I enforce). It is because they do not know these, that men do not know me.

Words have an ancestor; Deeds have a master [viz., Reason]. Since he is not understood, therefore I am not understood.

Words have an ancestor (a preceding idea), deeds have a master (a preceding purpose), and just as these are often not understood, so I am not understood.

3 They who know me are few, and I am on that account (the more) to be prized. It is thus that the sage wears (a poor garb of) hair cloth, while he carries his (signet of) jade in his bosom.

Those who understand me are few, and thus I am distinguished. Therefore the holy man wears wool, and hides in his bosom his jewels.

They who understand me are very few, and on that account I am worthy of honor. The wise man wears wool (rather than silk) and keeps his gems out of sight.
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